Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve

Fish Species
The following fish live in the lake:
Carp Pike Tench Roach Rudd Gudgeon Perch Chub
Scroll down or click on one of the names for more details.

The Common Carp is a large minnow, with adults weighing up to 50 pounds or more. Its robust body is compressed laterally, and a soft, fleshy mouth opens ventrally. A stout, serrated, spinous ray at the leading edge of the dorsal and anal fins is a distinctive physical characteristic. They are particularly fond of tender roots and shoots of young aquatic plants and often "root-up" large quantities of vegetation and silt in their search for food.

The Pike is a superb predator. It takes invertebrates when small but larger pike will tackle other fish and even young water birds. Marbled green and brown markings afford excellent camouflage when lurking among water plants. It's streamlined shape and broad tail enable fish to perform lightning attacks on prey which are engulfed in the huge mouth and are retained by numerous sharp teeth. Length 30-120cm.

The Tench is one of the prettiest of our freshwater fishes, easily identifiable by its distinctive shape and colour. It has a short, sturdy thick-set body with a layer of silky smooth slime, the tiny scales are deeply embedded in the skin. It loves to root about in weeds, but gives its presence away when feeding by releasing a stream of tiny bubbles that can be seen on the lake surface.

The Roach has a silvery appearance and reddish fins, the dorsal fin lies above the pelvic fins. Length 10-25cm.

Small Rudd tend to be quite silvery/white in appearance with greeny/blue-brown backs and can be difficult to identify from roach, but as they mature their flanks take on a beautiful bronze/golden colour and their fins turn a bright scarlet red. The mouth is distinctive with a steeply angled protruding lower lip and the eyes have yellow to orange irises as opposed to the red-eyed roach.

The Gudgeon is a bottom-dwelling fish. It has well-developed barbels which help detect invertebrate prey among sand and gravel. Length 7-15cm.

The Perch is a distinctive fish of rivers and lakes throughout Britain and Ireland except N Scotland. It's greenish body shows broad, vertical dark stripes. It has two separate dorsal fins, the first very spiny, other fins usually red. Shoals when small. Length 25-40cm.

The Chub is a streamlined, shoal-forming fish of fast-flowing rivers and streams. It has a plump-looking body, often with a golden hue. Favours surface waters and can often be viewed well from the lake bank with patience. Length 30-40cm.